The average US healthcare organization spent $651 per employee on formal learning in the last full fiscal or calendar year, according to ATD’s 2021 State of Healthcare Training, which features self-reported data from 48 US healthcare providers. For most organizations, that include some or all of 2019.
For the fiscal or calendar year at the time the survey was conducted, which included some or all of 2020 for most organizations, 52 percent of organizations expected their spending on formal learning to decrease compared to the previous year. Forty-five percent expected their spending to remain about the same, and 3 percent expected it to increase. The COVID-19 pandemic likely drove the decrease, as the pandemic’s challenges are putting enormous financial pressure on health systems across the country, leading many to aggressively cut costs.
The news isn’t all bad, though. For the next calendar year after the time the survey was conducted, which will include some or all of 2021 for most organizations, a much lower 31 percent of organizations expected their spending on formal learning to decrease compared to 2019 levels. More than half (52 percent) anticipated that they would spend about the same as they did in 2019, and 17 percent believed their spending on formal learning would increase compared to 2019.
Moving forward, it’s likely that at least a portion of those expenditures will go toward learning’s role in future pandemic preparedness at some organizations. Every organization that participated in the research indicated that it was taking steps to enhance its preparations for possible future pandemics, and many of them had plans directly involving talent development. For example, 80 percent planned to continue infection control measures and training for employees, 67 percent planned to continue infection control measures and training for patients, and 47 percent said they would provide regular employee training on responding to future pandemics.